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Old 19-02-2020, 16:16   #1
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USCG documented my state registered boat, do I need to tell the state?

This question must have already been answered but I was unable to find the answer through search.

I have documented my vessel with the USCG, do I tell my state DMV (California)? What happens to the original state title?
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Old 19-02-2020, 16:43   #2
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Re: USCG documented my state registered boat, do I need to tell the state?

An undocumented vessel is registered by the DMV and does not have a marine certificate issued by the U.S. Coast Guard.

A documented vessel is registered and issued a marine certificate by the U.S. Coast Guard. It does not require DMV registration.

A vessel renewal or transfer will be withheld, if the county tax collector notifies DMV that the personal property taxes are delinquent on a vessel.

A certificate of number becomes invalid when a vessel is:

Required to be documented by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Transferred to a new owner.
Destroyed or abandoned.
No longer used primarily in California.
You must notify DMV when a vessel is:

Sold.
Moved to a different storage location.
Documented through the U.S. Coast Guard.
Destroyed, lost, or abandoned (in any manner). Return the certificate of number and the California Certificate of Ownership to DMV within 15 days.
Or you can report the information in person to your local DMV office. For faster service, we recommend that you make an appointment online at www.dmv.ca.gov or by phone at 1-800-777-0133.
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Old 19-02-2020, 16:52   #3
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Re: USCG documented my state registered boat, do I need to tell the state?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Montanan View Post
You must notify DMV when a vessel is:

Sold.
Moved to a different storage location.
Documented through the U.S. Coast Guard.
Destroyed, lost, or abandoned (in any manner). Return the certificate of number and the California Certificate of Ownership to DMV within 15 days.
Or you can report the information in person to your local DMV office. For faster service, we recommend that you make an appointment online at www.dmv.ca.gov or by phone at 1-800-777-0133.
Perfect, thank you for posting that information
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Old 19-02-2020, 17:22   #4
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Re: USCG documented my state registered boat, do I need to tell the state?

I believe it still needs to be registered in the state, if you're keeping it in the state, even after you document it.

That's how it works in Florida, anyway, and I'd guess it's the same in California.


Your title is now with the USCG, not with the state.
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Old 19-02-2020, 17:42   #5
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Re: USCG documented my state registered boat, do I need to tell the state?

Quote:
Originally Posted by letsgetsailing3 View Post
I believe it still needs to be registered in the state, if you're keeping it in the state, even after you document it.

That's how it works in Florida, anyway, and I'd guess it's the same in California.


Your title is now with the USCG, not with the state.
Your correct as to Florida requiring registration if the USCG documented boat is kept in Florida for 90 days.

The DMV of California's website is confusingly worded in regard to whether a USCG documented boat that is principally used in California requires DMV registration as well. I suspect they do so as to invoke property taxation by the County in which the boat resides. Check with the DMV in that regard.
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Old 20-02-2020, 07:53   #6
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Re: USCG documented my state registered boat, do I need to tell the state?

For the record, California does not require that USCG documented vessels are registered with the California DMV which is why I asked about what to do with the title now that it has been superseded. You'll still get charged the one time use tax (for purchases) and annual unsecured property taxes though.

Aside from this, the main reason I had mine documented is because although foreign ports have ultimately been accepting my California title, they aren't happy about it. The gendarmerie in Nuku Hiva seemed to be personally offended that I would bring him such unorthodox paperwork.

Anyway, a couple citations regarding the registration and taxes:

https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/de...tsinfo/boatreg

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmv.ca.gov
Generally, every sail-powered vessel over eight feet in length and every motor-driven vessel (regardless of length) that is not documented by the U.S. Coast Guard which is used or on the waters of this state are subject to registration by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The vessel must be located in California.
https://www.bdoutdoors.com/forums/th...-in-ca.670788/
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Old 20-02-2020, 09:44   #7
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Re: USCG documented my state registered boat, do I need to tell the state?

Seemingly relevant sections of California Code:

California Law - Vehicle Code - Division 3.5. Registration and Transfer Of Vessels

Basically a boat that has California as its State of Principal Use for 90 days must register within 30 days after the 90 day period. The State provides reciprocity of temporary waiver of registration to vessels that are registered in other States, or Federally documented, or under the foreign flag registry.


CHAPTER 2. REGISTRATION (9850-9880) (3651)

Select definitions:
(d) "Registered owner" is the person registered by the department as the owner of the vessel. (3645)

(e) "Waters of this state" means any waters within the territorial limits of this state. (3646)

(f) "State of principal use" means the state on which waters a vessel is used or intended to be used most during a calendar year. (3647)

(g) "Undocumented vessel" means any vessel which is not required to have and does not have a valid marine document issued by the Bureau of Customs of the United States or any federal agency successor thereto. (3648)

(h) "Use" means operate, navigate, or employ.

9850. Every undocumented vessel using the waters or on the waters of this state shall be currently numbered. No person shall operate nor shall any county, city, or political subdivision give permission for the operation of any undocumented vessel on those waters unless the undocumented vessel is numbered in accordance with this chapter, or in accordance with applicable federal law, or in accordance with a federally approved numbering system of another state, and unless (1) the certificate of number issued to such undocumented vessel is in full force and effect, and (2) the identifying number set forth in the certificate of number is displayed on each side of the bow of the undocumented vessel for which the identifying number was issued. (3652)


9854. The owner of any vessel already covered by a number in full force and effect which has been issued to it pursuant to then operative federal law or a federally approved numbering system of another state shall make application within 30 days after the 90-day reciprocity period provided for in Section 9873. Such application shall be in a manner and pursuant to the procedure required for the issuance of a number under Section 9853.


9873. An undocumented vessel shall not be required to be numbered under this chapter if it is: (3744)

(a) Already covered by a number in full force and effect which has been issued to it pursuant to federal law or a federally approved numbering system of another state; provided, that such undocumented vessel shall be subject to the numbering requirements of this chapter if it has changed its state of principal use and has been within this state for a period in excess of 90 consecutive days. (3745)

(b) A vessel from a country other than the United States temporarily using the waters of this state. (3746)

(c) A public vessel of the United States, another state or subdivision thereof or municipality of such other state. (3747)

(d) A ship's lifeboat. (3748)

(e) Any vessel belonging to a class of boats which has been exempted from numbering by the department after the department has found that the numbering of vessels of such class will not materially aid in their identification; and, if any agency of the federal government has a numbering system applicable to the class of vessels to which the vessel in question belongs, after the department has further found that the vessel would also be exempt from numbering if it were subject to the federal law. An undocumented vessel propelled solely by oars or paddles and an undocumented vessel eight feet or less propelled solely by sail are exempt from the provisions of this chapter.




9853. (a) The owner of each vessel requiring numbering by this state shall file an initial application for a number with the department or with an agent authorized by the department on forms approved by the department. The forms shall be prepared in cooperation with the Department of Boating and Waterways. The application shall contain the true name and address of the owner and of the legal owner, if any, and the hull identification number of the vessel as may be required by the department. The application shall be signed by the owner of the vessel and shall be accompanied by a fee of nine dollars ($9), in addition to the fees required under subdivision (b), except that an owner of a vessel registered outside this state who is submitting an application for registration in this state shall pay a fee of thirty-seven dollars ($37), in addition to the fees required under subdivision (b). (3670)

(b) (1) Whenever the fee for original registration of a vessel becomes due between January 1 and December 31 of any even-numbered year, the application shall be accompanied by a fee of ten dollars ($10), in addition to any other fees that are then due and payable. (3671)

(2) Whenever the fee for original registration of a vessel becomes due, or is filed with the department, between January 1 and December 31 of any odd-numbered year, the application shall be accompanied by a fee of twenty dollars ($20) in addition to any other fees that are then due and payable. (3672)

9853.1. Upon receipt of the application in approved form, the department shall issue a certificate of ownership to the legal owner and a certificate of number to the owner, or both to the owner if there is no legal owner, stating the number issued to the vessel and the name and address of the owner. (3673)

9853.2. The owner shall paint on or attach to each side of the forward half of the vessel the identification number in such manner as may be prescribed by rules and regulations of the department in order that it may be clearly visible. Any such rules and regulations shall be developed in cooperation with the Department of Boating and Waterways. The number shall be maintained in a legible condition. The certificate of number shall be pocket size and shall be available at all times for inspection on the vessel for which issued, whenever the vessel is in use, except as to those vessels subject to Section 9853.3. (3674)

9853.3. The certificate of number for vessels less than 26 feet in length and leased or rented to another for the latter's noncommercial use of less than 24 hours may be retained on shore by the vessel's owner or his representative at the place from which the vessel departs or returns to the possession of the owner or his representative. A copy of the lease or rental agreement signed by the owner or his authorized representative and by the person leasing or renting the vessel shall be carried aboard the vessel at all times during use. (3675)

9853.4. (a) The department may issue one or more stickers, tabs, or other suitable devices to identify vessels as being currently registered. The size, shape, and color of the sticker, tab, or other device and the positioning of the sticker, tab, or other device on the vessel shall be as determined by the department after consultation with the Department of Boating and Waterways, such consultation to consider the responsibilities and duties of the Department of Boating and Waterways as prescribed in the Harbors and Navigation Code. (3676)

(b) Whenever the department issues a sticker, tab, or other device pursuant to subdivision (a), the sticker, tab, or device shall only be displayed on the vessel for which it was issued. (3677)

9853.5. Upon request, the department shall issue for any power-driven pleasure craft which is constructed of wood and which was constructed prior to December 31, 1942, a special plaque which identifies the craft as a vessel of historical interest. The provisions of this section shall apply to documented as well as undocumented vessels. The size, shape, and content of such plaque and its positioning on the vessel shall be determined by the department after consultation with the Department of Boating and Waterways; provided, that such plaque shall be of a durable material and shall be no smaller than six inches in height and six inches in width. A reasonable fee, as determined by the department, sufficient to support the administration of such program, shall be charged for issuance of the plaque. The plaque shall be valid for the life of the vessel. (3678)

9853.6. (a) (1) Beginning July 1, 2008, the fee described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 9853 shall be increased by ten dollars ($10). (3679)

(2) Five dollars ($5) of the increase shall be deposited into the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Fund created by Section 44273 of the Health and Safety Code and five dollars ($5) shall be deposited into the Air Quality Improvement Fund created by Section 44274.5 of the Health and Safety Code. (3680)

(b) (1) Beginning July 1, 2008, the fee described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 9853 shall be increased by twenty dollars ($20). (3681)

(2) Ten dollars ($10) of the increase shall be deposited into the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Fund created by Section 44273 of the Health and Safety Code and ten dollars ($10) shall be deposited into the Air Quality Improvement Fund created by Section 44274.5 of the Health and Safety Code.(c) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2016, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2016, deletes or extends that date. (3682)

9853.7. (a) (1) When the retail seller of an undocumented sterndrive or inboard vessel, that contains a spark-ignition marine engine below 373 kW (500 hp) rated power output that was manufactured on or after January 1, 2008, or contains a spark-ignition marine engine with any rated power output that was manufactured on or after January 1, 2009, files for the purchaser of the vessel the initial application for a number for the vessel, the retail seller shall do both of the following: (3683)

(A) Certify on that application, by marking in indelible ink the affirmative checkoff boxes or line alternatives described in subdivision (a) of Section 9852.9, that the spark-ignition marine engine has a permanently affixed label indicating that the engine meets or exceeds the 2008 California emissions standards required by Section 2442 of Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations. The retail seller shall make that certification only after examining the permanently affixed label for the engine and only if the label indicates compliance with Section 2442 of Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations. (3684)

(B) Submit with the application, the hang tag required by Section 2443.3 of Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations for the engine, after including on the reserved white space of the hang tag, the engine family name, from the permanently affixed engine label, and the serial number of the engine. (3685)

(2) If the retail seller does not file for the purchaser of a vessel described in paragraph (1) the initial application for a number for the vessel, the applicant, upon filing an initial application for a number, shall submit the hang tag required by Section 2443.3 of Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations for the engine. The hang tag shall contain the engine family name, from the permanently affixed engine label, and the serial number of the engine, as inserted by the retail seller of the vessel. (3686)

(b) Subdivision (a) does not apply to a vessel originally purchased in another state by a resident of that state who subsequently establishes residence in this state and who provides satisfactory evidence to the department, or the department's agent authorized pursuant to Section 9858, of the previous residence. (3687)

(c) The department, and the department's agent authorized pursuant to Section 9858, shall not number a vessel subject to subdivision (a), unless the retail seller certifies on the initial application for a number filed for the purchaser of the vessel that the spark-ignition marine engine has the label described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) permanently affixed to the engine, or the applicant submits an application that is accompanied by the hang tag required by subdivision (a). (3688)

(d) For the purposes of this section, "spark-ignition marine engine" has the same meaning as that term is defined in paragraph (48) of subdivision (a) of Section 2441 of Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations. (3689)

9853.8. (a) This section applies only to a sterndrive or inboard vessel that contains a spark-ignition marine engine below 373 kW (500 hp) rated power output that was manufactured on or after January 1, 2008, or contains a spark-ignition marine engine with any rated power output that was manufactured on or after January 1, 2009. (3690)

(b) It is an infraction, punishable by a fine of two hundred fifty dollars ($250), for a person to operate an undocumented vessel, requiring numbering by the state, that is not currently numbered by the state, and that does not comply with the emissions standards required by Section 2442 of Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations. (3691)

(c) As used in this section, "spark-ignition marine engine" has the same meaning as that term is defined in Section 9853.7. (3692)
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Old 20-02-2020, 10:16   #8
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Re: USCG documented my state registered boat, do I need to tell the state?

I agree that the language is a bit ambiguous, but I believe the keyword there is undocumented and therefore only relevant to vessels not currently documented by the USCG.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/boatsinfo/boatreg

What Is the Difference Between a Documented and Undocumented Vessel?

An undocumented vessel is registered by DMV and issued a Certificate of Ownership.

A documented vessel is registered by the U.S. Coast Guard, and issued a marine certificate.
(Unless you were offering code 9873 as reinforcement for not requiring state registration)

For what it's worth, common knowledge among boat owners in California is that vessels should be either registered with the state or documented with the USCG but not both.
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Old 20-02-2020, 10:58   #9
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Re: USCG documented my state registered boat, do I need to tell the state?

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Originally Posted by AmericanVagrant View Post
I agree that the language is a bit ambiguous, but I believe the keyword there is undocumented and therefore only relevant to vessels not currently documented by the USCG.

(Unless you were offering code 9873 as reinforcement for not requiring state registration)

For what it's worth, common knowledge among boat owners in California is that vessels should be either registered with the state or documented with the USCG but not both.
Indeed highly confusing language, especially as to the use of dual negatives in the definition of undocumented and in the statutory requirement language. Truly WTF?????

(g) "Undocumented vessel" means any vessel which is not required to have and does not have a valid marine document issued by the Bureau of Customs of the United States or any federal agency successor thereto. (3648)

So with an undocumented boat one is dealing with a vessel that does not need [i.e., not required to have], nor has not been issued "a valid marine certificate" by the Bureau of Customs. So one is thence left asking: What kind of valid marine certificate is issued by the Bureau of Customs? Customs typically involves importation inspection and duty payments. Say Huh? Seemingly a vessel that is NOT REQUIRED TO HAVE have a marine certificate is also a vessel that should NOT HAVE ISSUED a valid marine certificate [whatever yet undefined "marine certificate" that is being referred to] .


So if one was to attempt to UNdo the negative language of the definition of an UNdocumented vessel, would a documented vessel thence become: "Documented vessel" means any vessel which is required to have and does have a valid marine document issued by the Bureau of Customs of the United States or any federal agency successor thereto.

Yes, 9873 (a) is the part that I read to may require California registration within 30 days after any 90 days of consecutive use of State waters, specifically as to the exception language "provided, that such undocumented vessel shall be subject to the numbering requirements of this chapter if it has changed its state of principal use and has been within this state for a period in excess of 90 consecutive days."

In Florida and Texas one has to register your boat with the State once the boats status has changed so as to have that State be the Principal State of Use, e.g., 60 or 90 days residing in the State waters. Ah, the joys of having 50 State jurisdictions to comply with. The USCG documentation is in effect a titling so one would seemingly need to surrender any and all State titlings before documenting with the USCG. Registration is an entirely different matter from titling. Maybe you should contact the Attorney General of the State of California,Xavier Becerra for an legal interpretation of the law.

9873. An undocumented vessel shall not be required to be numbered under this chapter if it is: (3744)

(a) Already covered by a number in full force and effect which has been issued to it pursuant to federal law or a federally approved numbering system of another state; provided, that such undocumented vessel shall be subject to the numbering requirements of this chapter if it has changed its state of principal use and has been within this state for a period in excess of 90 consecutive days. (3745)

Good luck with having a clerk at the Department of Motor Vehicles attempt to even know how to locate the pertinent code language and then to be able to interpret it correctly and apply such to the status and circumstances of any specific vessel.

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Old 20-02-2020, 11:34   #10
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Re: USCG documented my state registered boat, do I need to tell the state?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AmericanVagrant View Post
For the record, California does not require that USCG documented vessels are registered with the California DMV which is why I asked about what to do with the title now that it has been superseded. You'll still get charged the one time use tax (for purchases) and annual unsecured property taxes though.

Aside from this, the main reason I had mine documented is because although foreign ports have ultimately been accepting my California title, they aren't happy about it. The gendarmerie in Nuku Hiva seemed to be personally offended that I would bring him such unorthodox paperwork.

Anyway, a couple citations regarding the registration and taxes:

https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/de...tsinfo/boatreg



https://www.bdoutdoors.com/forums/th...-in-ca.670788/

Seems like you're right.


Which is pretty weird. How do they keep track of whether you've paid sales/use tax?
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Old 20-02-2020, 11:45   #11
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Re: USCG documented my state registered boat, do I need to tell the state?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Montanan View Post

Indeed highly confusing language, especially as to the use of dual negatives in the definition of undocumented and in the statutory requirement language. Truly WTF?????

(g) "Undocumented vessel" means any vessel which is not required to have and does not have a valid marine document issued by the Bureau of Customs of the United States or any federal agency successor thereto. (3648)

So with an undocumented boat one is dealing with a vessel that does not need [i.e., not required to have], nor has not been issued "a valid marine certificate" by the Bureau of Customs. So one is thence left asking: What kind of valid marine certificate is issued by the Bureau of Customs? Customs typically involves importation inspection and duty payments. Say Huh? Seemingly a vessel that is NOT REQUIRED TO HAVE have a marine certificate is also a vessel that should NOT HAVE ISSUED a valid marine certificate [whatever yet undefined "marine certificate" that is being referred to] .


So if one was to attempt to UNdo the negative language of the definition of an UNdocumented vessel, would a documented vessel thence become: "Documented vessel" means any vessel which is required to have and does have a valid marine document issued by the Bureau of Customs of the United States or any federal agency successor thereto.

Yes, 9873 (a) is the part that I read to may require California registration within 30 days after any 90 days of consecutive use of State waters, specifically as to the exception language "provided, that such undocumented vessel shall be subject to the numbering requirements of this chapter if it has changed its state of principal use and has been within this state for a period in excess of 90 consecutive days."

In Florida and Texas one has to register your boat with the State once the boats status has changed so as to have that State be the Principal State of Use, e.g., 60 or 90 days residing in the State waters. Ah, the joys of having 50 State jurisdictions to comply with. The USCG documentation is in effect a titling so one would seemingly need to surrender any and all State titlings before documenting with the USCG. Registration is an entirely different matter from titling. Maybe you should contact the Attorney General of the State of California,Xavier Becerra for an legal interpretation of the law.

9873. An undocumented vessel shall not be required to be numbered under this chapter if it is: (3744)

(a) Already covered by a number in full force and effect which has been issued to it pursuant to federal law or a federally approved numbering system of another state; provided, that such undocumented vessel shall be subject to the numbering requirements of this chapter if it has changed its state of principal use and has been within this state for a period in excess of 90 consecutive days. (3745)

Good luck with having a clerk at the Department of Motor Vehicles attempt to even know how to locate the pertinent code language and then to be able to interpret it correctly and apply such to the status and circumstances of any specific vessel.

I enjoyed that. Yes it's amazing that the law as written was determined to be the most precise language available.

Quote:
Originally Posted by letsgetsailing3 View Post
Seems like you're right.


Which is pretty weird. How do they keep track of whether you've paid sales/use tax?
My understanding is if you're USCG documenting with a California address they will contact you some months later to ask for it.
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Old 20-02-2020, 11:49   #12
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Re: USCG documented my state registered boat, do I need to tell the state?

Quote:
Originally Posted by letsgetsailing3 View Post
Seems like you're right.


Which is pretty weird. How do they keep track of whether you've paid sales/use tax?
He's definitely right. I'd estimate close to half of the sailboats in my home port (totaling over 1,000 slips) are USCG documented.

As to the State tax, it would appear that USCG sends the info to the state. I received a California tax bill a couple of months after I bought my current boat, which was already documented, and the state knew the purchase price recorded on the USCG Bill of Sale. The state, in turn, apparently notifies the County tax assessor, I got the personal property bill in the mail the next year. Of course, that could also have been reported by the PO, when they got the annual bill.
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Old 20-02-2020, 12:01   #13
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Re: USCG documented my state registered boat, do I need to tell the state?

Quote:
Originally Posted by letsgetsailing3 View Post
Seems like you're right.


Which is pretty weird. How do they keep track of whether you've paid sales/use tax?
http://https://www.cdtfa.ca.gov/formspubs/pub79.pdf

Documented** Vessels and** California* Tax
Publication 79 August 2018

Under California law, sales
or use tax and personal
property tax generally apply to
the sale, purchase, or ownership
of documented vessels located
in this state. Documented
vessels are those registered with
the U.S. Coast Guard or foreign
governments.

Reference this document for the form to complete and to send in along with the payment.

Snipet:
Sales and Use Taxes
Is my purchase of a documented vessel
subject to sales or use tax?
Unless an exemption applies, either sales or use tax
must be reported on documented vessels purchased
for use in California (including vessels that are
purchased out of state).
The law allows several exemptions. For example, tax
may not apply to your purchase if the vessel:
Was purchased for use outside California,
Will be used in interstate or foreign commerce,
Will be used for commercial deep-sea fishing
outside the territorial waters of California, or
Was purchased from a qualified family member as
specified in section 6285 of the Sales and Use Tax
Law.
Also, tax does not apply if you received the vessel as
a gift.
For more information on vessel acquisitions that
are not subject to use tax, call the Consumer Use
Tax Section at 1-916-445-9524. Publication 40,
Watercraft Industry, is available on our website at
www.cdtfa.ca.gov or by calling the Customer Service
Center at 1-800-400-7115 (TTY:711).
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Old 20-02-2020, 12:08   #14
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Re: USCG documented my state registered boat, do I need to tell the state?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Montanan View Post
Your correct as to Florida requiring registration if the USCG documented boat is kept in Florida for 90 days.

also if your boat was built before 1990 .. it can qualify as an antique and your Florida registration costs go down to less than 10.00 a year.
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Old 20-02-2020, 12:10   #15
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Re: USCG documented my state registered boat, do I need to tell the state?

As to California property taxation of USCG documented boats. The boat will be assessed by the county assessor of the county the boat resides on January 1st.

Reference: http://https://assessor.saccounty.ne...Qs.aspx#Vessel


Snipet of the FAQs.

1. Question: Why are boats and vessels assessed for property taxes?

The California Constitution (Section XIII, Article 1) provides that all tangible property is taxable unless it is otherwise exempted by the Constitution or by the legislature. Household personal property was exempted in the 1950's, but privately-owned boats are still subject to property tax.

6. Question: My vessel is a documented vessel. Must I still pay property taxes on it?

Yes. The law does not differentiate between vessels registered with the DMV and those "documented" with the Coast Guard, and both are subject to property taxation.


Question 12:
. . . Liability for vessel property taxes attaches to its owner as of 12:01 a.m. on January 1 each year (the lien date). The bill for the coming tax year is then issued to the owner of record at that time, and that individual, or their estate (if they are now deceased), is liable for the taxes.
. . .


From the Orange County Assessors office regarding property taxation of boats, Orange County, California - Boats & Personal Watercraft



How does the Assessor Department locate boats and other watercraft?
The Assessor Department receives boat registration and documentation information from the Department of Motor Vehicles, the U. S. Coast Guard, and marinas operating within the county. We also perform annual on-site inspections of all marinas and moorings in the county.


If my boat is for sale and is consigned to a broker, will it be assessed for property taxes?
Yes. Only boats owned and held in inventory for sale by a licensed dealer are exempt from property taxes.

When and where are boats assessed for property taxes?
State law requires that boats be assessed on January 1 of every year, at the site where they are regularly or routinely located. Boats regularly located in Orange County are assessed here, regardless of where they are registered.

Are taxes prorated between the buyer and seller when a boat is sold?
No. Any arrangement regarding property tax liability must be worked out by the buyer and seller.

Will I be assessed even if my boat is out of the county on January 1?
Temporarily removing a boat from the county on January 1 will not exempt it from property taxes, if it is regularly or routinely located in the county.

Will I still be taxed if my boat was sold before January 1?
No, the new owner will be responsible for paying the taxes. However, you may receive a Notice of Pending Assessment if we do not receive the necessary information from the Department of Motor Vehicles. If you receive a notice, you should return the notice and provide the new owner's name and address, date of sale, and CF or documentation number.

I own two boats. Why did I receive one Vessel Property Statement for one and one Notice of Pending Assessment?
The value of the vessel will determine which form will be mailed to the owner. Generally, in Orange County, only boats valued over $100,000 receive a Vessel Property Statement.

Are boats held for rent eligible for the inventory exemption?
Boats are eligible for the inventory exemption if they are not out on rent on January 1.
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